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I'm working on an open source project, and am looking to find collaborators. What's my best bet, in terms of advertising my project, with an eye specifically towards finding other developers interested in contributing?

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1  
What do you expect them to do? –  user1249 Dec 22 '11 at 8:14

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted
  • Use Github to host your project, Github is the de facto service these days. It is easy and free to register, thus you are lowering the bar for the new participants.
  • Create Twitter and G+ accounts for your project, This is really important.
    You can use them to communicate with other developers and for announcement.
    Why G+? because according to my personal observation, G+ is trending between developers mainly because we already have GMail accounts.
  • Post about your project at sites like DZone.
  • Many programming languages have sites named like language-planet.org
    For example, I add an aggregator called ClojurePlanet to my RSS reader, I'm literally hearing/reading about new open source projects written in Clojure every day.
    Use those aggregators to inform the world about your project.
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5  
Why are the accounts important? –  user1249 Dec 22 '11 at 8:15
2  
And adding to that, why is anything you wrote important? I've referenced your answer in mine, I obviously agree with you... Still some explanation on each point is necessary. –  Yannis Rizos Dec 22 '11 at 10:21
    
emacs, linux, gcc and many other tremendously successful open source projects had no accounts on github, twitter, g+, etc. Turns out it is not that "important" after all. What is really important is that project should be useful and should fill an obvious gap. –  SK-logic Dec 22 '11 at 10:37

One particularly interesting way of promoting your open source project is StackOverflow's own Free Vote-Based Advertising for Open Source Projects1:

Here’s how it works:

  • Visit the special meta.stackoverflow.com question thread for this advertising period. It will always be tagged [open-source-advertising].
  • Construct a 220×220 image advertisement for the open source project that you would like to publicize to your fellow programmers.
  • Post an answer containing your image to the question. It must be in exactly the right format, as documented in the question itself.
  • Get at least (n) upvotes for your answer.
  • Your advertisement will now be featured in Stack Overflow’s remnant ad inventory, in the sidebar ad slot on most pages.

I think it will serve the an eye specifically towards finding other developers interested in contributing goal finely, as the most visited sites of the network are geared towards developers (SO and this one) or technical savvy people (SuperUser).

I'm also very fond of Ohloh:

Ohloh is a new kind of software directory, combining community-driven content with a unique source code crawler that monitors up-to-date development activity.

Lastly, if your project relies on other open source projects, you could reach out to their communities.

And of course my answer is meant in addition to everything in Chiron's answer.

1 Also: Free Vote-Based Advertising for Open Source Projects and Open Source Advertising - Sidebar - 1H 2012 on Meta StackOverflow.

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I agree with Chiron but I must add something more important: Your local LUG or whatever open source software you are using.

Also keep in mind, you are making a tool for a specific purpose, offer the solution to the users, some of them will probably encourage the development by testing it, making suggestions or actively developing the project.

Keep in mind that it must be useful, and it must be functional. Failing in one of those areas won't get you free man hours or compliments.

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Make your project useful, filling a gap in the people's needs. Find the users first - and some of them will become contributors later. The other way around is doomed to be fruitless.

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Get on podcasts! Herding Code, Dot Net Rocks come to mind. Also, get talked about on good blogs as much as possible.

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How? It's quite a fuzzy suggestion... Podcasters/bloggers need to first know about you to talk/write about you, and I think the question is more on the "how people will get to know us" part... –  Yannis Rizos Dec 22 '11 at 8:56

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